Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms – From Brain Zaps To Bipolarity

Cymbalta is the commercial name of duloxetine, an SNRI (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor) commonly used to treat cases of severe depression and sometimes chronic pain that originates from the nervous system or diabetes related issues.

While this medication does a lot of good, withdrawing from it could get pretty ugly. The process may differ from one person to another, but the bottom line stays the same – you will suffer some temporary sickness and you will eventually be OK.

Disclaimer

There’s a significant list of symptoms that a person may suffer while they are on withdrawal from Cymbalta. The list of symptoms specified in this article is a partial list of the symptoms which was composed from my memory of my own experience with Cymbalta withdrawal, and the experiences of others who shared their stories online. A person is likely to suffer from the symptoms specified in this article, but nothing is certain. One person might suffer all these symptoms and more, but also might get away scott free. I am NOT a licensed physician, just a person who experienced the process of withdrawal from Cymbalta and wishes to assist others who also have to go through this tedious process.

A List of Side Effects and Symptoms Caused by Cymbalta Withdrawal



Brain zaps– They’re a feeling that doesn’t have a bona fide definition. If you want to know what to expect, close your eyes and imagine that there’s a little man inside your brain, and he just sits there. Now, imagine that he spreads all his extremities to all sides, punching and kicking the walls of your brain one time with all his might, and then sits back down. That impact to the brain is accompanied by a short burst of intense headache, dizziness and sometimes nausea – That’s the closes I can get to describing what the “Brain-zaps” felt like to me. They were my personal “favorite” symptom and they can get pretty scary. This symptom can be eased by taking Omega 3 and acetylcholine. supplements.

Lasting headaches Headaches in general are a delightful experience aren’t they? This was the first symptom I experienced and is in fact usually the first symptom to manifest itself in most people. To me there were no brain-splitters though, just long and persistent background mind pains that bothered me and kept me from performing my everyday functions.

Dizziness – Usually mild although extremely stubborn – lying down doesn’t help it because it doesn’t derive from physical instability; it derives from your brain going through withdrawal. I found these to be no more than a bit annoying and I haven’t found anyone who complained about it being more severe than that.

Insomnia – Some people have difficulties falling asleep due to other symptoms they are experiencing such as headaches or hot flashes. However, sleep deprivation sometimes manifests itself as a symptom on its own. When I went through withdrawal I could hardly sleep at all. Sometimes it was because I just couldn’t fall asleep and sometimes the headaches would keep me awake. The sleep deprivation was there to bother me from the very beginning to the very end of my withdrawal, and it was the second most disturbing symptom for me, right after brain zaps.

Nausea – It’s hard for me to elaborate on this because I didn’t notice it at all. I wasn’t even aware that it was a symptom before I began researching for this article. However, the nausea is a very common symptom which appears in different levels for different people. For some it’s very mild while others may even throw up. Although I didn’t suffer from it myself, the crushing majority of people report to have suffered from it to some extent.

Hot and cold flashes – Some people shiver and sweat while others don’t notice the flashes at all. I suffered greatly from hot flashes, but since I wasn’t being observed by any medical professional, I thought it was just an extremely hot summer. Most people do experience them. Many patients even find themselves changing their clothes several times each day in order to deal with the variation of perceived temperatures. I just went swimming very often, and always in the sea. I have a swimming pool near my house but the smell of chlorine significantly increased my headaches. I also found that being in the water helped me relax, and I really needed that back then, due to the next symptom I’m about to tell you about.

Bipolarity – this is one of the most common symptoms and it makes a lot of sense, too. People on withdrawal from Cymbalta experience mood swings between extreme anger, fatigue, hyper-activeness, a feeling of futility and even depression.  I was like “The Hulk”. I exploded at anything and everything and when I wasn’t angry I was depressed like never before. My mood was extremely volatile but always self-destructive, and it was a disaster for my social life. Some people still think I’m insane, which I probably was. But it’s important to remember that I didn’t know to expect these symptoms. I didn’t have any medical observance and I didn’t know I was going through withdrawal. I thought that this was actually the real me without the meds. That increased my depression and kicked my self-esteem to the curb. However, you, having read this, will probably have a much easier time dealing with this side effect, and that makes me happy I took the time to write this article for you.

Diarrhea I had it, you’ll have it, everybody gets some. It’s a very common symptom and it usually only lasts for a few days. Explosive diarrhea for everyone! Woohoo!

Cymbalta Withdrawal Duration

How long does the average person suffer from these dreadful symptoms? Unfortunately, that question cannot be answered unambiguously. There are ways to shorten the period and ease the symptoms, various supplements can help with that. The best supplement for easing cymbalta withdrawal symptoms is Neuro Endure Mini. It’s recommended far and wide throughout the internet and you can get a good deal on it right here. You can People are physically different from one another, and that means that different people suffer from different symptoms for different periods of time. To most people, it takes between two and three weeks to get over their withdrawal side effects, but sometimes it could be longer.  To me it took a little over two months until the symptoms disappeared completely. But I went “cold turkey”, which you won’t, and I wasn’t under any medical observation, which you will be. So stay optimistic, keep your head high and remember – this will all be over soon.

 Additional Help and Info

First of all – I’d like to recommend this book.
It contains tons of useful information that will not only get you prepared and ready to wean off Cymbalta, but will also be a great source of information if you’ve already began the process.

A lot of people become very frightened from experiencing the hardships of Cymbalta withdrawal. It’s a feeling of sickness in the brain, and that can be terrifying. Fortunately, it’s not an everyday feeling and so it’s very important to remember that the side effects will decrease and eventually go away. Some people recommend various changes of diet and exercise regimes, saying that once they have changed their eating habits and began exercising, their need for Cymbalta gradually diminished until it was gone completely.

Ceasing to use Cymbalta is not a simple task, and it is one best preformed gradually and carefully. Do NOT go “cold turkey”, Do NOT start or stop using Cymbalta without consulting a licensed physician, and of course, if you feel ill in any way, weather in accordance to the symptoms list or not, consult a licensed physician immediately! Any other course of action would be foolish, irresponsible and potentially hazardous to your health.

If you need additional support to help you through the process, feel free to contact me. If I can make this process any easier for you, I would love to help, especially since no one was there to help me when I went through it.

Don’t forget to like SHPECK.com on Facebook.

Good luck and get well soon!
Itay “SHPECK” Rijensky

Summary
Article Name
Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms - From Brain Zaps To Bipolarity
Author
Description
A description of the struggle involved with Cymbalta withdrawal. Including what side-effects to expect, and how to cope.

88 Responses to “Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms – From Brain Zaps To Bipolarity”

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  1. KatieBelle says:

    Hi, thank you for your offer of additional help. After almost 16 years on meds: was on Cymbalta and Wellbutrin when I went “cold turkey” in early Feb. and now it’s April–about 2 months now. I didn’t tell anybody! I quit for a variety of reasons. I am proud of myself–albeit quietly proud of myself. My husband is a MD and has not noticed too much. He’s a wonderful, nurturing intelligent Dr. at work–but not at home. (Ha ha on me!) I was particularly irritable the past few days: that scared me a bit. I have been reading the “What winners Do” site today and it has been helpful. I’m not sure I need support-but just reassurance that I am nearing the end. I have developed a weird lump on my back and it needs to be removed. I’m putting off seeing the Dr. (we moved from WA to SC in Aug and I never got a new Psychiatrist so I just see the Family Practice Dr.) because I want to done with withdraw before she freaks out on me–and/or tells my husband (her colleague). I keep telling myself that I am a strong lady and God cares about me.

    • Hi Katie,
      I’m glad you took the time to write me your comment, and I’m very proud of you for staying strong without your medications!
      Having said that, at the same breath I’m worried about that lump on your back.
      Sounds like something you might wanna treat asap, before it grows. See a doctor as soon as possible – it shouldn’t be too hard for you since you live with one. :)
      You are a strong lady and you WILL be ok.
      keep in touch!
      Itay

  2. yes i have had several side affects from being on cymbalta for 3 years.while on cymbalta i suffered from brain zaps regular also cold and hot sweats it has been a nightmare. i took myself off by weening off of them 6 months ago and i still have problems. i will be very cautious from now on 6 months and still suffering what do you do is there any help…deloris virginia beach

    • Well Deloris, Cymbalta is a very potent medication and it has a very strong effect on the brain and its hormonal balance. Its only natural that side-effects from it should last longer than those of most medications. If you feel your symptoms are not normal, consult your psychatrist. Otherwise, just wait a little longer, it will blow off. I’d also like to recommend that you do your best to eat as balanced as you can. This should help keep your body’s chemistry balanced and make you all around healthier, thus improving your overall condition.
      Feel better and hang tight! It’s all temporary.
      Itay.

  3. Kay says:

    I have been on Cymbalta 30 mg for almost three years. I was prescribed it for back pain from a herniated disk. The worst side effect while on the drug was constant sweating!! To the extent that i felt gros! I have asked my Dr. To ween me off of the drug and for some reason he hasn’t wanted to.
    I tried taking the pill every other day and missing that first dose I had the “brain zaps” and dizziness. I had to go back to taking it. I finally ran out of the medication and decided I wasn’t going to pick it up from the pharmacy. I am not going to lie the “brain zaps” were horrible the first couple days. Then they eased up. I am currently on week three of being off the drug and Still have the “zaps” but not as often and the mornings are when they happen the most and random ones throughout the day.

    • Hi Kay!
      Thanks for your comment.
      I’m sure that the zaps will come to pass after a while.
      Just make sure to let your doctor know that you’re off the med! It’s important to keep your doc informed.
      And maybe you should take another pain pill? Have you tried anything else?

  4. Chanel says:

    Hello Itay, thank you so much for wanting to be a supporter for those of us on the med cymbalta. First off I would like to say that I am so sorry that you went through such a terrible ordeal with this med.. I wish I could have been there to support what you were going through like you yourself are supporting those of us on this wonderful med.
    I myself am currently on this med and have now been on it for about 4 or 5 months now. I started to see a therapist for depression and this med was prescribed to help. I was on 30mg for the first month and then went up to 60mg for a month and I am now on 90mg and I have now been at that mg for 2 months.. I have been told by my psychiatrist that cymbalta was safe to be on and that the only side effects to suffer with would be nausea and if I were to not take it for a day the most that would happen to me would be a slight headache. Well I found out that was one big fat juicy lie because I ended up with the zaps, headache, and nausea..
    Im pissed because I don’t like to take Meds as it is and didn’t want to be on something addicting I now only find relief if I take this beautiful tremendous working son of a b$&@! They call a helpful med. I want to stop taking the med but I am scared to do it. I no longer see my psychiatrist due to bs I have dealt with with them, and it sucks because they paid for this crap. What would you suggest I do. I have a set of 60mg’s and a set of 30 to make 90. I want to ween myself off by finishing the 60mg until it’s out then decreasing to the 30mg and then quit. What would you recommend?? It is now 8/2/2013 and it’s 4am and I’m not asleep and haven’t been to sleep since last night not to mention I’m having hot flashes. Om to the freakin G!!!!! Sorry a lil frustrated for those of you who may be reading this.

    • Hi Chanel!
      First of all thank you for your support. I’m happy to say that my withdrawal from Cymbalta is far behind me. I defeated my own disease without the meds. I can’t say I never get depressed, but I’m definetly a lot better without Cymbalta.
      If your therapist straight up lied to your face like that, it’s time to find a new one. Trust is a very important part of therapy and if you don’t trust your psychatrist, he\she can’t help you. That’s fact. If you feel strong enough, this can be a real turning point for your life. You might be this type of person who knows what’s best for you better than any therapist ever would, your major issues might be resolved and the minor ones are something that you can work out on your own. In that case, wean Cymbalta, live free, accept that (this is the hardest part of the proccess) you are normal and strong enough to endure the storms of life.
      On the other hand, you might feel like you still need help. And that’s OK. Most people do and only the brave of those seek treatment. Be brave enough to find a new therapist. See what he\she has to say. See if they might have a medication to offer that would replace Cymbalta. If they do, read about it before you agree to take it. don’t give up.
      And one last thing – you saw your dosage go up threefolds when you were on Cymbalta and it didn’t help. This means that your brain is not entirely chemically balanced. It doesn’t mean your crazy. It makes some people angry, others neurotic and others sad. I find that the greatest thing you can do for your mental health is maintain a healthier lifestyle. Eat better and on time, and excercise at least twice a week.
      Do this, and I guarentee you’ll get better. I’d put my life on it. You’ll be more energetic, happier, more confident and better looking for the price some sweat 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes, and giving up junk food (which is hard the first few weeks but really easy once it’s out of your system).
      Good luck! Let me know how you’re doing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks so much for your advice i appreciate it.. I exercise about 3 times a week, but I don’t always eat, not because i don’t want to but i forget to because I have a very busy life. I have three little ones so that to be expected but I will do my best to maintain a better eating schedule. Again thanks so much for your advice. Its also nice to know that your issues with stopping this med is now behind you. Gives me hope =).

        • Eating right is even more important than excercising! Especially if you do excercise – your body needs ingridients to maintain itself, if it does not get those ingridients from food, it starts burning cells it shouldn’t burn. I hope you’ll feel better, and if you need any help or support you know where to find me.
          You will crush this withdrawal, you’ll see ;)

  5. Kasey says:

    So I’ve been on meds throughout the years for depression (or so I thought) and anxiety (or so I thought). Effexor, Paxil, and finally Cymbalta. I have Epilepsy, and my old Neurologist told me the “rushes” I was experiencing were panic attacks and I needed a good med for that, so I got put on Cymbalta. I attempted 1x to come off this, cold turkey, about 2 years ago, and that week was crazy! I was having rushes like no other. So I went back on it.

    3 weeks ago I had a seizure. My new Neurlogist told me it was a complex partial. Also that those “rushes” that I described to him that I’ve had throughout the years, and that my old Neurologist told me were panic attacks, were in fact simple partial seizures. So, in being told this, I decided to wean myself off the Cymbalta. Hey, 1 less medication to take, and it has some crazy side effects when on it (including weight gain). I did not ween off of it like I should have. I was taking 30mg, 1x a day. So I took it every other day for a week. And then stopped. I feel… weird. I have the zaps, I feel like my head is going to explode. I’m shaky (and they aren’t seizures). I feel foggy. I’m moody and cry/yell at the drop of a hat.

    I’ve been off cold turkey for a week now. How long do these last? I know there’s a variety of lasing effects, but on average? I think I’m driving my husband insane! =)

    • Hi Kasey,
      Since you did the smart thing and stopped kind of gradually, you aren’t experiencing the full extent of a hardcore cymbalta withdrawal. This does not mean what you’re going through is anything close to easy.
      The symptoms usually last between 1-3 months, as far as I know most people get better after one month.
      Make sure you keep your seizures checked and hold on. There’s also nothing wrong with taking natural medicine to ease your symptoms until they blow over. Make sure you drink plenty of water. A lot of people are chronically dehydrated and have such a weak thirst mechanism, they often confuse it with hunger. Make sure you drink half a gallon of water a day. That would absolutely help you with your symptoms.
      Take care!

      • susan says:

        My sister who is a pharmacist gave me the recipe to get off from cymbalta without side effects…week one. Open capsule and remove and discard 10-12 of the little beads. Week 2 discard 20-24….and so on until they are gone. If you are feeling withdrawl …..stay on amount you were on previos week for an extra week. I am on removing 30 beads and have no withdrawl symptoms…good luck

  6. Val says:

    My 13 year old daughter has been taking cymbalta since may 2013. she was suffering from reflex neurovascular dystrophy (RND), and after trying several other medications was given cymbalta for pain management. the RND went away suddenly several days after school ended. Her PCP and I decided to keep her on it until October to get her back into school. she was taking 20mg from may to aug. in aug she went up to 30mg, for about 3 weeks. about 8 days ago she decided she didn’t want to take it anymore and went cold turkey. nothing I can do can convince her to take it. about 4 days ago she started getting very irritable, angry, and even irrational. I figured teenage girl and school nerves, her therapist yesterday suggested withdrawal. I contacted her PCP office but have not heard from the Dr. Today she feels generally crappy, nauseous, flu like symptoms. I started researching and here I am. I read the comments and it seems like we could be in for a few tough days (weeks?) Any suggestions for a stressed mom just trying to get her child well?

    • Sorry Val, not much you can do.
      I think that in the long run this is a good thing though.
      There are plenty of meds for chronic pain, and most of them don’t have the terrible side effects that Cymbalta does. She will be in a crappy mood and she will stay there for a while, if not due to Cymbalta withdrawal, due to hormones. That’s a tought age for girls.
      General sickness is also pretty normal. You read the article, you know the symptoms. Cymbalta messes with chemicals in the brain, so it’s natural to feel extremely weird when you stop using it.
      As for a solution – excercise. As far as I know that’s the best cure for RND and RND related pain.
      Also, make sure she drinks enough WATER everyday. Not soda, not juice. And do your best to keep her eating the right things at the right amount.
      I know it’s a general solution, but that’s because it always helps.
      As for you – you should relax. She should be fine :)

      • Anonymous says:

        Italy, thank you for getting back to me. Today was a much better day, she woke up with a nasty cold but a better personality. We aren’t pushing her to much, and are making sure she’s getting enough water. I’ll check in with her PCP and take it one day at a time. thanks for listening.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hello to you again Itay,
    it’s Chanel I was just giving you an update on how its going with getting off cymbalta. I did the ween off thing and have been off cymbalta completely for 5 days now and i feel that i am in the worst place possible. I have been irritable, very moody, throwing up, night sweats, weak, tired and having tons of brain Zaps. I feel miserable. I hate this so much but i am doing my best by taking it one day at a time. I really hope i start to feel better soon. The worst part about withdrawals for me is that i am a young mother of three and they dont know or understand what I am going through. But I believe that because I have God in my life I will get through this. Thanks to you and your website as well it helps to talk to people who have been through this with the same med. Thank you everyone who has spoken on this site as well. I am very hopeful.

    • Hi Chanel,
      I’m sorry you feel so bad, but it’s expected. The best thing to do right now is to eat right, stay hydrated and distract yourself from the symptoms. If you believe help would come from believing in God then by all means, do that, too. I promise you, you’ll get through this in a short while anyway.
      Kick the butt right off this thing, it’s all going to pass soon.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been off of cymbalta for 4 months, and I still have symptoms (mostly cognitive, thankfully the dizzyness went away when my doctor put me on Prozac 1.5 month ago – which I then stopped taking due to side effects of its own). I had to tell my boss about my experience, or I could have been penalized. My brain is definitely not normal anymore, and it could take a very long time for things to reverse completely. Thankfully, I have noticed some positive changes, but it still seems like much time will need to elapse before I feel “normal” ever again. Strangely, my anxiety is much better because I can no longer think about things to the same degree. This is sort of like an awful torture, however, because I used to love the way I would analyze things. I am confident that these symptoms will reverse, and have already seen very good changes in the past month particularly, but I am not hopeful that it will be any sooner than 6 months to 1 year before I start to feel like “myself” enough to proclaim that I’m cured.

    Word to the wise: stay the hell away from psyc meds, these things don’t solve problems, they create them. I am still taking this stimulant called adderall, but after my experience with cymbalta, I am only taking this other medicine until I graduate from college, and then off all of it permanently. I’d rather be dysfunctional in society than a slave to some pharmaceutical company.

    • I completely agree. I’ve been off Cymbalta for a few years now, I remember when I felt like you’re feeling right now. It goes away very slowly and very gradually until eventually you’re “clean”.
      Your level of awareness to the way your mind processes things makes me think your IQ is higher than avarage. Even if it’s not, your brain is a very powerful tool and it has the ability to balance and heal itself. Stop taking your meds, finish college like a boss and remember this experience.

  9. Donna Geltch says:

    Hi there,

    First of all… “explosive diarrhea for everyone!” gosh that made me laugh. Thanks for your article. I have found it really great for sharing with my close work collegues and friends/family so they know what to expect. I have been on Cymbalta for 2.5 years, 60mg, for depression. In the last six months I found that it wasn’t really doing anything and the side affects were out weighing the benefits. Plus I just felt I was ready to get off them. My doctor has put me on a 6 week taper… 2 weeks alternating 60mg and 30mg, 2 weeks on just 30mg, two weeks alternating 30mg and 0mg and then nothing. Eeeek. I am currently a week into 30mg everyday. I have found the symptoms are getting more noticable, especially feeling dizzy, but still manageable-ish. (although today, not sure if I want to go to bed and cry or punch someone in the face) Happily my underlying mood is jovial. I think crunch time will be when I alternate 30mg/0mg. I am so looking forward to all the symptoms not being there and being off this yuck drug.
    Good luck to everyone and take care of yourselves!!
    Donna :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    I had been on Cymbalta 60mg for about 1.5 years and then started weaning off about 5 or so months ago. After I read some blogs about the side effects I decided to wean off slowly by opening the capsule and counting the beads. I started reducing my dosage by 1mg every 3-4 days. Then at around 40mg I started reducing the dosage by 5mg every week or so until I got down to 15mg. Until that point I’d had no recognisable side effects and was tired of counting beads so I decided (3 days ago) to stop all together. I have immediately suffered ‘brain fog’, dizziness, difficulty focusing whilst driving, vivid dreams and crying episodes!!! I’ve put myself back on 15mg and will wean off slowly again 1mg at a time. I am also going to commence some daily cardio to help with the feelgood brain chemicals. Only 15 or 20 minutes. I’m a working mum with a sedentary job so I’m not as active as I could be and free time is always a challenge . I really hope these strategies will beat this and help get me back to normal. If I’d known all this 2 years ago I never would’ve started this drug!!!

    • I know what you mean… Everyone who read this article probably regret they ever started taking Cymbalta.
      However, you’d be happy to hear you’re doing everything right.
      You should stop as gradually as possible and cardio is an excellent addition. In fact, I think excercise is the best cure for anything out of balance. Keep counting beads until you get to zero. You probably will suffer some side effects and it might take a while until you’ll feel 100% like yourself again, but eventually, you will.
      Good luck!

      • beachlibra says:

        I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have happened upon your website. I’m in the process of cymbalta withdrawal, and have most, if not all, of the symptoms you described. I’d thought it was all in my head (isn’t that what lost of us who take meds like cymbalta think at first, but after some internet searching, and then talking to two people at the same party who had also withdrawn from it, I knew I wasn’t crazy.

        Not mentioned here are the memory lapses. (Or maybe you did…..and I forgot ;) ), but those are incredibly bothersome to me as well.

        My stats: I was on cymbalta for just under two years. It was prescribed by my PCP after some messy stuff at the workplace. With the help of a friend, I noticed this summer that it wasn’t working. I started seeing a psychiatrist, I guess in early September, and he immediately started weaning me off cymbalta. I’m in my second week of totally off of it. The psych is working with a diagnosis of Bi-polar Depression, and has started me on Lamactil. Mostly, I feel better, but I am still pinging emotionally.

  11. Barbara says:

    I find it very interesting that everyone has these brain zaps while coming off a drug. I don’t take any meds and I’ve had these durn things for years. Always get them in the early morning while lying in bed. Sometimes I can “hear” the zing. Sometimes I feel it going behind my eyes. Very weird feeling. I don’t like it at all. Usually occurs when I am lying on my back. When I feel one coming on, I try changing my position. Another source says it is also stress induced. In any case, I’d like to get rid of them. Itay, your suggestion for exercise is a good one. One I keep telling myself I need to do. Hopefully it will be the cure.

    • Hi Barbara! Sorry I took so long to reply.
      Exercising and eating well are always good for you, but if you have a symptom, it’s probably there to represent something that’s out of balance in your body.
      This could be blood pressure, something too scarse or common in your nutrition and it could even be neurological.
      I think you should get it checked.

  12. Pam M says:

    I was prescribed cymbalta for brachioradial pruritis. After 2 years of no improvement in my condition I d/c’d and am in my second week of withdrawal. I am experiencing dizziness to the point of nausea and slight disorientation or it could be the other way around lol….just because that is my coping mechanism. I have mild to moderate hot flashes and chills. I am having trouble falling asleep and then staying asleep. I have however rediscovered my sense of humor and my libido….my husband is very happy. Hanging in there. Hope you do too.

  13. Lenny says:

    Starting about mid August, I slowly went into an episode of severe depression (I’m Rapid Cycle Bi-polar). On October 10th my depression was in full bloom and I had a plan. Fortunately my 3-1/2 year old twin granddaughters popped into to my head and I picked up the phone and called a crisis hot-line and waited for the police to come and take me to the hospital. That night I was taken to a Mental Hospital and after being checked out the Dr. there told me he wanted me off Cymbalta and that it would be a (his word) bitch. Using Prozac as a buffer over the next several day he lowered my Cymbalta dosage which at the time was 90mgs. On the 5th day of the process I was in his office and he was making sure that everything was going OK when suddenly I told him something was wrong. I went into a seizure and he immediately knew what it was and with one hand he held me and with the other he was dialing the phone and calling aids and nurses in. They gave me a shot of ativan and shortly after the EMT’s showed up to take me to the ER at a local hospital. A Dr. was in the ER waiting for me. Over the period of about 30 min. I had about 15 seizures that twisted my body together, no pain and I never lost consciousness, but holy cow seizures are one scary mother. I could see and hear but could not talk during the seizures. Today. Nov. 2nd I’m home and I’m still getting headaches and having trouble getting to sleep, and have had two episodes of extreme sadness, Dr. tells me it will go away soon and to stay in touch.
    I never asked him if he’d had to do this before but I do remember him saying he was using a protocol that had been successful.
    I can’t imagine what could have happened with a Dr. that didn’t know the dangers of of Cymbalta and I wonder if the Dr. that put me on this drug knew the dangers( I doubt it because she would not have put me on it 4 years ago) I feel like sending the manufacturer a bill for every headache and other symptom I might encounter.
    Thanks to my two Little Angels, I’m still alive.

    • Glad to hear you’re getting better.
      You know, the more I read people’s stories here and on my email, the more i suspect Cymbalta is a sham.
      Somebody is making big bucks from making people sick and doctors are getting commission fees for prescribing cymbalta.
      I think it’s sad that the world we live in is full of authorities we can’t trust.
      In the past one or two decades corruption has gotten so deep that the very people who’s jobs are to protect us (politicians, police, medical doctors) are the very ones we can’t trust. It’s not always their fault, though.
      For example, THC and CBD are tested and proven cancer killers with no negative side-effects. THC and CBD are both chemicals that come from Cannabis.
      Also, a research was published recently by a doctor from italy who managed to prove the effectiveness of a cheap, mass-distributable cure for cancer. Believe it or not – it’s baking soda. It works.
      He tested it on women with breast cancer and the results were amazingly good.
      However – oncology is a very profitable industry. That’s why Cannabis is still illegal in most of the world, and that’s why when a person goes to the doctor to get treated for his or her cancer, they get chemo. And if they ask about cannabis and baking soda, the doctor will usually laugh in their face. Not because they don’t work, but because that was what he was taught at med school.
      I need to write about that… and I will!
      And while on the subject, cannabis is also extremely helpful with fits of depression so you might want to try that ;)
      Good luck!

  14. gina says:

    Thank you for this article. One thing that I have found that helps with the zaps is benedryl. Just one in the morning and onein the afternoon. If I am having issues going to sleep i take one or two at bedtime. The zaps are worse for me during times when there is bright lighting and heavy conversations. So naturally avoiding those help. Lol I sound like a sleepy recluse. Your sense of humor really cheered me up on a very hard day. Oh great now I am sentimental crying…haha sniffle sniffle

    • You’re funny, I like you :)
      Just go easy on the benedryl. I don’t think it’s a very good thing to do to your body right now.
      Your brain needs to find its chemical balance right now after a while of depending on an outside regulator, I think you should try to introduce as little chemicals as possible during your rehab.
      Good luck!

  15. lingerkathy says:

    I’m sitting here feeling terrified right now because I called my clinic for my normal 6 month prescription to be called in and was told they will no longer call in refills because they are now under new Federal guidelines. I can’t be seen for approximately 6 more weeks which means I am going cold turkey tomorrow. I took myself off of Effexor several years ago and it was pure hell. I have family watching over me for my own well being, thank God. I have available to me Passion flower tincture, omega 3 fish oils, and some other supplements. Can u recommend other herbs or supplements I can go get to make the withdrawal any easier? One of the things that I know will be an issue is my mood swings and irritability. If I can reduce those I know from experience I will be ok through this. Thanks, Kathy

    • Hi Kathy,
      Gina from the comment above you suggested benedryl, you can see what I think about that in my reply to her.
      I hope cannabis is legal where you live, because it really is a miracle cure. It will greatly help you with the symptoms. Use a vaporizer or take it in food, though. Much healthier than smoking it.
      Apart from that, keep a tidy meal schedule and stay as hydrated as possible.
      You can try excercising, it increases endorphins but for some it makes the symptoms worse.
      The best thing for you to do in my opinion is to stay strong and remember that weaning Cymbalta is a change for the better.
      Good luck!

  16. Robin V says:

    WOW!!!
    I’m completely shocked, aggitated, “zapping,” “pinging,” and ANGRY!!!
    I’ve been a nurse for 20 yrs. I’ve been on antidepressants for almost 13. I have tried/failed on: Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Serzone. Effexor-worked well, until I went to a Continuing Education dinner about SSRI’s. Discovered the #1 side-effect of Effexor – WEIGHT GAIN! I’d gained almost 30 lbs in 2-1/2 years, and not one of the Dr’s. I was employed by had EVER put 2-and-2 together!!! The next day, I consulted with a wonderful friend, a Physician’s Assistant, who had been at that dinner, and had seen the tears streaming down my cheeks–tears of anger. He weaned me off of that and I started taking Wellbutrin XR 300mg. I lost 40 lbs – the first 17 in less than 4 weeks! Then, hydration and exercise became a normal part of life. I felt GREAT!
    In 2004, I re-married-and moved out of state. I NEVER DREAMED the absolute WORST part of moving 700+ miles from the town I grew up in would be finding a M.D. who didn’t treat me like a “drug-seeking-nurse!” In Ohio, physicians are more “holistic,” and treat the patient as a whole. In the state of Arkansas, however, to be taken seriously, a person has to go to a separate specialist for each-and-every medical problem!!! What a nightmare! So….I began going to pain management for severe fibromyalgia, so severe I have skin Pain! I also have chronic insomnia, chronic fatigue, migraines (since I was a teen), spina bifida occulta, an extra vertebra between L5/S1. My pain management physician is WONDERFUL!!!
    I have also been seeing a psychiatrist since 2005. I’d been living in AR for a year, had been to a dozen “family practice MD’s” & after my initial visit–each would tell me they “weren’t comfortable seeing me as a patient,” stating I had “too many health problems,” and they weren’t comfortable treating me. A few of them accused me of being “the most dangerous type of nurse….”–medically-addicted, and drug-seeking!!! I went for almost 12 months on nothing besides herbal/homeopathic supplements. While I love my psychiatrist–she switched me from Xanax 1mg 4x/day to Klonopin 1mg at bedtime!!! And it WORKS-no panic attacks! She also CURED my chronic fatige/brain fog, explaining a low dose of Adderall–10-20mg/day, helps boost one’s energy, increasing concentration and overall functionality.
    HOWEVER–she took me OFF Wellbutrin & put me on Cymbalta in 2006. Initially, it worked well. But–if I would miss a dose, or not be able to afford my rx ($150-$250/mo without insurance!) & miss a couple doses….YES! I was SICK!

    Sooo…here I am now. My pain management M.D. has been giving me samples for 5 years – he’s OUT! I ran out a week ago–the Psyche told me come pick up samples; however, she’s an hr drive-one way! It’s DAY 7–and I…AM…SICK! Waves upon waves of “transient dizziness,” where my eyes feel like they’re swimming, I get very dizzy, even to the point my lips, tongue, and cheeks TINGLE. A year ago, I begged my Psyche to stop the Cymbalta because of the side effects of ONE MISSED DOSE….and here I am a year later. She refused to put me back on the Wellbutrin (which I CAN afford) because the Cymbalta is for Fibromyalgia. THIS MOMMA would MUCH RATHER take my rx’d pain meds than live in complete FEAR I’ll miss a dose–or worse yet, RUN OUT!!!

    I see Pain management in 2 days — and I’m going to tell him, put me on something, NOT CYMBALTA–but what the hell, why not Wellbutrin? It was WORKING, afterall!!! Until reading everyone’s posts on here, I was not aware HOW much problems people were having…from CYMBALTA!!!

    As a nurse – might I recommend/ask for input – has anyone ever tried Antivert/Meclizine, or OTC “motion sickness” meds for the dizzines & “fall on your face” feeling? They tend to dry your mouth a little, but if I can turn my head w/o thinking I might PASS OUT COLD–hey I’ll drink more water!!!
    Also–has anyone else experienced–with the “brain zap” – slight tingly feelings in the lips/tongue-which only last a second?
    Thanks to anyone w/words of wisdom! This weekend–is going to be a L-O-N-G one!!!

  17. Helen says:

    I’ve been on Cymbalta for 10 years. l loved this medicine it helped with my pain from fibromyalgia. I also have RA and chronic fatigue. It helped my depression which I also have now. I woke up one morning and wasn’t able to walk that ‘s how it all started.So here I am going Cold Turkey and experiencing electrical shocks in my head.
    Headaches,diarrhea, vomiting and several mood swings what’s a girl to do.I have notice I have emotions which I can cry and I can laugh again. I had no emotion at all. It has been 3 weeks now and I don’t feel better it seems to be getting worse.I am praying for strength.Water is my new friend.I would still be taking Cymbalta but my husband got sick and was terminated and I no longer have insurance and free meds stop due to not able to see my doctor.So here I am . I nevered dreamed that I would be that person with no insurance and no where to turn. I think it was a GOD SENT and meant to happen this way. Did I fail to mention that I am my husbands caregiver.He just had a kidney transplant so I am extremely busy with him. I also watch my 16 month old grandson all day so try to keep busy and that will also help. Water,Exercise,Music and Prayer Thanks for listening

  18. max says:

    I’m a 39-year-old male. I quit Cymbalta after being on it just over a month. 30mg for a fortnight, then 60mg. The 30mg dose seemed OK, except for the headaches, nausea, insomnia… As soon as I went on the 60mg dose my sex drive disappeared completely. No desire, erections, and thus no orgasm. After two weeks of this I’d had enough and just stopped taking the drug cold. I want my life back, depression and all. I have no idea when my sex life will return :(

    • Helen says:

      Yeah that happen to me too. I am a female and had no sex drive at all.Talk to your doctor and see what he can do for you. Cymbalta is not for everyone.There are so many drugs out there to help for depression.Please don’t give up.

    • I have to disagree with Helen. If your sex drive was fine before cymbalta, it will be fine again soon. Do NOT take anymore druge to fix the damage from drugs. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. I used to suffer from depression, the drugs won’t fix you because it’s a chronic illness. They won’t manage it for you either. The only thing they can do is teach you how to manage it yourself by helping you manage it chemically, Once you know how to deal with your depression, you might be able to live with it, drugs free. That’s what I did. Now when depression strikes, I’m aware of it. I know it’s a feat and usually it passes within a few hours to a few days.
      That’s depression, you need to learn to live with it. It’s possible and quite easy after you control your mind properly.
      Stay strong, hopeful and thankful for what you got in life and remember to always put things in prespective and know that everything is going to be OK. that’s the only simple and true key to happiness.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hello to everyone, I’m Chanel, I had most of the issues everyone here is, has, or once had experienced with this medicine. I am happy to say that I have been off cymbals now for about 3 months and my life is so much better now. I still have some brain zaps and occasional nausea but my life has improved significantly. I don’t feel so depressed or angry all of the time. I’ve started college to be a RN. I’m doing more activities with my family, plus going to church and joined the church choir. So just wanted to let everyone know don’t give up or give in..u will make it through. I’m very grateful to this sight that Itay has created for those of us suffering from this drug. This sight has helped me a grate deal just knowing I was not alone. Thank you to everyone who has and will share their experiences. Thank you as well Itay ur the best, I appreciate u so much for all of ur advice. I pray and hope that all of u will get better soon.

  20. Helen says:

    It’s been one month now since I’ve been off Cymbalta . I am still getting electric shocks in my head they have not gone away at all. My mood swings are a little better. I am in so much pain all over my body.I have fibromyalgia and that’s why I took Cymbalta for my pain which did work. I have headaches and body aches .

  21. MartyinNC says:

    Hello everyone, I want to thank you guys for these posts. I had back surgery in May and it wasn’t a success so the doctors have been trying different meds to help. I have been on Cymbalta and Lyrica together for several months now but with a mistake by the doctor, my prescriptions ran out on Dec 2nd. Till the Doctor comes back from his extended holiday vacation all the P.A. would do is give me the Lyrica which I started back yesterday Dec.5th. I can’t explain what all my body is going through right now but my whole body aches and I feel like I could explode with anger at any second. The dizziness is crazy and I’m getting scared that the worst is yet to come. I see the doctor on Dec. 9th. Again Thank you for explaining to me some of these weird headaches and mood swings.

  22. Robin V says:

    Update:
    After my “cold turkey” episode last month, my psychiatrist told me: Take Cymbalta 30mg/bedtime x 2 weeks-then stop it. Start Wellbutrin SR 150mg/every a.m. Well–I completed the Cymbalta. Not 30mg/bedtime, but gradually weaning down, counting beads. Two nights ago, took my last Cymbalta-which had about 20 beads in it.
    Today, I was at work–and became severely ILL!!! Managed to make it through the shift–got home, got my “20-bead” dose of Cymbalta–and here I am, 2 hrs later, feeling relief!
    Also–wasn’t aware of the happy/tearful, hot/cold flashes & EXTREME mood changes with weaning off the Cymbalta. I’ve been afraid my “happy-now, angry-as-hell in 5 minutes” episodes, hot flashes from hell, and feeling absolutely “hateful” were due to the Wellbutrin not working–but know now it’s part of “Cymbalta Hell!”
    I’m probably going to see the MD next week–cuz Somethin’s Gotta Give!!!
    Y’all DO keep us posted!!! Thank you sooo much!!!

    • Hi robin,
      Quite honestly, I think you??e taking too much meds.
      Usually when a person suffers from many different types of illnesses, it derives from a core problem.
      If you aren?? dangerous to yourself or others, I really think you should stop taking so many psychiatric meds. I mean, as a nurse you should know better than anyone that drugs create dependancies and not really treat the problem.
      If you haven?? yet, try finding a naturopathic healer. They help you balance your body chemicals through nutrition and other solutions, all probably better than pumping yourself full of meds.
      Also, if you haven?? already, try cannabis.
      It has been proven effective against depression, fibromyalgia and many other diseases.
      No matter which doctor you??l go to, unless you have a core disease ??something serious or lethal, they??l only treat your symptoms with medications and send you home numb to your illness. That?? what they??e taught at med-school.
      Good luck!

  23. Emily says:

    Hi from Australia,

    My name is Emily and this is my third time trying to quit Cymbalta, and also my third day since taking 60mg tabs.

    In the past I felt worse rather than better after 3 weeks off the stuff, but this time I am trying to be as healthy as possible and sleep as much as possible in order to minimise side-effects.

    My situation at the moment is I have been prescribed another antidepressant called ‘Avanza’ to try for three days in order to sleep, but this just made me sleep for 14hrs at a time so not very helpful. I am meant to wait a few days then go back on Cymbalta but to be honest I don’t want to do this.

    I can say that my general recommendation would be to cut down the beads in Cymbalta gradually, as this seems to be what others have done to successfully wean off, but as I am not working right now and can focus on my health etc., I am again trying not to go back on the stuff (or Avanza for that matter, as it really isn’t helping me acheive a normal sleep schedule anyway).

    At this point I have experienced alot of brain zaps etc but am just taking it easy and drinking rosehip tea (from T2) with apple cider vinegar (Macro brand), and took some milk thistle to help cleanse my liver, along with evening primrose oil to provide some essential fatty acids. My partner also made me a lovely omelette earlier and having him here is great too.

    I will say that I did drink two glasses of coke after I awoke, and it definitely increased my irritability and anger, so I can recommend NOT drinking coke lol or probably anything with caffeine, as last time I quit Cymbalta I continued drinking coffee at work which didn’t seem to help things (increased irritability). I did read that Caffeine suppresses serotonin release but not sure the truth in that as haven’t really looked into it.

    Anyways I will continue to try a ‘natural’ approach to the Cymbalta withdrawals this time, and am happy to keep posting my experiences if others are interested?

    I chose to speak on this forum as I like Itay’s approach and enjoy his insight, so I feel most comfortable here :)

  24. Emily says:

    Oh and P.S the thing that made me feel the BEST today so far was watching the finale of ‘The IT Crowd’. So comedy does help!

  25. MartyinNC says:

    Hey Guys, I wrote a post several weeks ago about being tapered off Cymbalta and it helps reading all the comments on this blog so again Thanks for this site. Can someone please describe what a brain zap is and how you feel?? I’m still taking Lyrica and have been off Cymbalta for about a week but the weirdest in my head continues. I know this sounds crazy but there are times that I feel like I’m hearing a 100 crickets right beside me. Any help would be greatly appreciated and hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!!

  26. Joe Farley says:

    60 mgs for 5 months. New year, new insurance policy, need a refill: $199.99! No thank you very much. Last dose was 1/3/2014. Head zaps? Oh, ok, did not know WHAT to call this feeling. Have been awake about 5 hours since Monday. Dreams are special (Chantex anyone?). Dizzyness just will not go away, and now I think I am going to cry…ok, that passed, ooops, maybe not. I can actually see stuff that is not there, I think. OMG(osh) to the nth degree. How can a person have a bathroom call when last I ate was three days ago??? Tomorrow I will have to do something but I DO NOT want to be put back on this stuff. Any suggestions?

  27. Glo says:

    Hi. Thank you for being someone that cares. My story is probably different then most. Three years ago I returned home after a trip to Cuba. On my trip I experienced bilateral pain in my feet and a crazy GI infection from food poisoning.

    Needless to say my condition became worse over the months there after, as doctors started treating me with prednisone, lyrics, morphine etc. Please note I lived a very healthy lifestyle prior to this as a personal trainer.

    One year in, I was completely bedridden from unimaginable pain, vomiting every day and left almost dead at 90lbs. I lived like this for 7 months before I ended up in a Toronto hospital for 7 weeks, where I was given Cymbalta and Lorazepam for wanting to end my life. Could anyone blame me? They diagnosed me with psychosamic pain because they couldn’t find what had made me so sick. Ha ha

    Long story short…. it is three years later and I was put on 150mg of Cymbalta. I have recovered from some of the pain by trying to take my life back with over $100,000 spent on alternative care.

    I am currently on 90mg of Cymbalta starting today. I have so many symptoms that I can’t tell what part of all this is caused by this poison. My symptoms are as follows. Please note I have removed all other poison from my body.

    Extreme weakness
    Extreme fatigue
    Vomiting
    Nausea
    EXTREME sensitivity to cold that is painful
    Low body temperature 35 degree Celsius
    Resting Heart Rate of 100bpm
    Very cold painful feet
    Joint Pain
    Hot Flashes
    Night Sweats
    Depression
    Thoughts of Suicide
    Constipation
    Food Allergies
    Anger
    Hearing my heart
    Chills

    and on and on

    I guess my question is has anyone experienced a cold painful sensation from this medication. My mom just came off of Cymbalta after three weeks of use. She said she had a painful cold sensation and stopped the medication immediately. Her feet just like mine became very cold to the touch. She is starting to feel better.

    And more importantly, does Cymbalta cause long term damage? I’m scared I will never get my life back.

    Glo

    • Emily says:

      Hi Glo,

      I never thought of this as a side effect at first, however yes I did experience cold sensations when I was taking cymbalta (60mg) and also thereafter (I have stopped taking Cymbalta for the last approx one month, however I DO NOT RECOMMEND COLD TURKEY, I just did it this way because I wasn’t working, and knew some of what to expect from previous trials not taking the drug for a few weeks).

      I cannot imagine what you went through on 150mg of Cymbalta, that sounds really scary. I think maybe you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, especially seeing as your dosage dropped by nearly half way when you started on the 90mg capsules.

      I haven’t taken any Cymbalta since my last post (approx 1 month ago), but I am only now beginning to experience significantly less withdrawal symptoms. In your case I would suggest cutting down VERY slowly on your dosage as in my experience the withdrawal symptoms are worse than the symptoms experienced during the first few weeks taking the drug.

      The most scary side effect I experienced from not taking Cymbalta was over the last week I lost a great deal of mobility in my left fingers, then lost a great amount of mobility of most of my left hand, then began experiencing mild loss of mobility in my right hand. I thought maybe I had arthritis in one of my knuckles at first, but I realised after a week that it was something else as my whole hand would often feel cold (still does but have mobility now). I came across the symptoms looking at ‘withdrawal’ symptoms online.

      Withdrawal symptoms from anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication are what doctors and medicinal companies term ‘discontinuation syndrome.’ I believe the symptoms from ceasing any psychoactive drug are withdrawal symptoms, it’s just that companies can’t really sell drugs which come with a warning saying ‘Do not discontinue this drug once addicted for fear of withdrawal symptoms’.

      In terms of whether or not Cymbalta causes long term damage, this cannot be verified as there has not been enough research regarding this. In fact, when I looked into it from memory there has only been one long term study of the effects of Cymbalta (I think it was tested on a woman over 5 years but please look this up. I believe there is information on the official Cymbalta website).

      The best advice I have found online regarding working suggestions from doctors and individuals of the general public is to VERY SLOWLY decrease your intake of Cymbalta. The recommendations I have seen are to start reducing your dose by removing ONE ‘bead’ from your daily Cymbalta capsule for TWO WEEKS, then remove TWO beads from each daily capsule for TWO WEEKS, then three for the next fortnight etc. Sometimes people can only remove one bead from each daily capsule for the entirety of a year, so PLEASE DO NOT FORCE YOUR REDUCED DOSAGE if it is not working for you.

      Also, the ‘bead’ amount in each capsule will NOT be identical as the capsules go on weight, so please keep this in mind and be safe.

      I’m certainly not yelling at you, just realise you are in a different situation to me as you have had a severe illness, and the impact of withdrawals on your body can be very intense.

      I am NOT a doctor and cannot stress enough how imperative it is to seek credible medical advice, ideally from a doctor experienced in Cymbalta and Cymbalta withdrawal. This is coming from someone still seeking an appropriate medical practitioner to discuss this medication and it’s side effects, along with the side effects of the withdrawal symptoms from Cymbalta.

      The drug is definitely not ideal, however the withdrawal symptoms are equally if not more scary, so it’s best to wean off slowly I think. I try to eat foods rich in Omega 3, and take ‘Blackmores Executive B’ and try to eat nuts where possible, along with dark chocolate. If you can, take Evening Primrose oil too. Again, best to discuss this with a good doctor though. I’m just listing things which I believe are helping me get through this. I am also going to the hospital tomorrow for a psychiatric appointment, so I’m not just taking supplements and hoping for the best ;)

      Good luck and sorry for the large rant!

      Peace :)

      Emily

      • Glo says:

        Hi Emily,

        Thank you for all your kind words. I feel you too have suffered as many have.

        Please note, I dropped only 30mg. I should have clarified that 4 months ago I went from 150mg to 120mg.

        So this drop today was from 120mg to 90mg. My psychiatrist is aware of the decrease and I will be working with Bryce Wylde for alternative health support. Bryce is one of Canada’s leading clinicians.

        I know way better than to do this quickly. I have come off of many horrible drugs
        in the last three years. In about 4 weeks, as long as I am ready, I will be doing a small dose reduction. I am going to have the medication reduced at a compounding pharmacy…. splitting the pills into 10mg. So the next drop will only be 10mg.

        Thank you for all the advice.You have given me some much needed emotional relief.

        I also suggest no one stops this cold turkey. This is a medication that effects your nervous system. It is not a joke. Stopping quickly only increases long term side effects. We are all too valuable to ever have to suffer in such a way.

        Sending everyone my luv.

        Glo

        • Emily says:

          Hi Glo,

          I’m glad to hear you have so much support, and understand your situation better now. I am sure you are on top of things which is fantastic to hear :)

          Injuries and illnesses can take their toll for sure! It doesn’t help having so many medications confusing your system, but sometimes yes you are right, sometimes the best thing is to stay on them, and cut down slowly to see the results.

          I’m really glad I could be of some emotional support :)

          Kind regards,

          Emily :)

          • Glo says:

            Thank you! This fight is not over :)

            For anyone who has gone through the medical system, we know each others hardships. We are not only fighting for our health, but we are fighting for better: we are fighting against corrupt institutions that play God with innocent people’s lives.

            Doctors and pharmaceuticals believe they can divide and conquer. It is through the voices of all of us that we will expose the truth. None of this is in vein.

            I’m glad websites like this exist.

            This is not just a personal fight, but a political one. I am already going after some big guys…. and I will make certain that no stone is left unturned.

            All the best :)

            GLO

  28. Jan Kinsey says:

    I start my fight tomorrow night. I have been on this beast for many, many years. I tried cold turkey a few times. Could not do it. The bead counting begins. I take Cymbalta for chronic migraines. Sad part is…. I still have the migraines and now I am chronically addicted to Cymbalta. Two problems instead of one.

    You all give me great hope.

    JMK

  29. Joe Farley says:

    JMK, All the luck in the world with your fight. Know that it will be worth it all in the end; has to, it’s the only thing keeping me going on day 15 – but feels like 3 days short of 4ever. You seem to be starting off on the right path (pun intended), bead counting may be the most accurate step down method out there. By beating the chronicle addiction, maybe, just maybe the second one will clear up as well. God Bless and will see you on the other side (of this nightmare).

    Rasta-JOE

  30. Anonymous says:

    I was on Cymbalta for 2 1/2 years, eventually taking 120mg a day. I did not feel I was benefiting from the drug ( was taking for pain associated w/herniated discs). The pain continued. At my request, my doctor established a ween down schedule, from 120 to 90 to 60 and hen 30 mg. From everyday to every other day, every second day, every third day an so on. All along the side affect that overwhelmed me the most are the brain zaps, and a not as common tinnitus. I am now Cybalta free for one week after a 3+ month ween down.Unfortunately, the side affects are full blown. Insomnia has now crept in.

    Has anyone found a successful treatment that will eliminate these symptoms. The thought of going months with these symptoms will drive me insane. Any help please.

    • Glo says:

      Hello!

      Yes a week in sounds about right for crazy withdrawal. I was on 150mg of cymbalta for pain at one point. I’m currently at 90mg. The symptoms for me picked up in weeks two and three.

      First off…. I am in utter shock that doctors still don’t understand how cymbalta works. You can’t be taking this medication on alternating days. You must have gone through complete hell. I can’t imagine. This drug needs to be tapered gradually.

      This is my recommendation…. but please consult a qualified psychiatrist. I actually use a compounding agency to reduce my medication at 5mg at a time. It takes time for the brain to chemically adjust. It needs to repair itself. You may consider introducing 15mg back into your system and tappering at 5mg at a time. Or you can go back on 20 mg with your doctors approval. In Canada it only comes in 30mg doses.

      My other recommendation is to supplement with omega 3 to help the brain zaps. If you’re on any other medication…. make sure you take your supplement 2 hours before or after your medication, otherwise the medication will erase the benefit of the supplement.

      I can also suggest visiting the following website: http://www.theroadback.org. It offers supplements to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. You can also send an email to the organisation and they will reply within 24hrs. They are a great resource and help.

      During my withdrawal I also work with a naturopathic doctor who gives me IV Therapy. It’s pretty much a mega dose of vitamins to help you recover quickly. It is about a 100.00 a shot, but lord knows it is worth every penny.

      I hope some of this helped. I know I can’t ease your pain… but there are options that will help make this a little less painful.

      Wishing you all the best,

      Glo

  31. Gloria says:

    So I’m currently going through Cymbalta withdrawal…cold turkey. 90mg a day to 0mg with no tapering off. No, I’m not a masochist who chose to do this. The program through which I received treatment for my Depression and Anxiety switched into Medi-Cal (Medicaid for those outside of California) and nobody-not the doctor, not my case worker, not my pharmacy-told me that Cymbalta wasn’t covered. I didn’t discover this until I had about two days worth left and hadn’t received my refill yet. I was told that I could keep getting Cymbalta but I would have to fill some paperwork out, but again, nobody figured to send me that paperwork. I’ve now gone 7 days without Cymbalta and I feel like I’m in Hell. I have the brain zaps 24/7, even when laying down. Some serious nausea is going on, I have hot flashes, irritability, I feel like what seems to be small spurts of mania (and I’m not bipolar) and now I’m becoming somewhat incoherent; it’s an effort to think straight. And I feel like crying from how f***ed up I feel.
    Does anybody know of ways to cope with the withdrawal? There’s not a lot I can do until I get that paperwork…but even then, I’m now hesitant to go back on Cymbalta because the idea of possibly going through this again frightens the crap out of me. Any advice on how to alleviate this even just the smallest bit would be seriously appreciated.

    • Glo says:

      First off, my heart goes out to you. I can’t even imagine what you are going through right now.

      Please see your doctor. I know you do not want to be on this medication, but being forced to go cold turkey like that is not safe. I can understand how money is an issue, because I have been financially exhausted from my doctor, but please do consider going back on at least 30mg for your health.

      The reason I say this is because I am starting to believe that the reason for my nerve pain, and crashed immune system, for three years is due to stopping an antidepressant abruptly. Life is a constant battle. It’s a struggle to walk and gain any energy. Somedays I am left fighting for my life. I am constantly sick and doctors can’t find out what has caused this.

      I know you don’t want to be on this poison, but it might be the safest thing until you stabilize. If you can’t afford cymbalta see if your doctor can prescribe an anti depressant in the same class of drugs. Once your body stabalises, you can consider tapering slowly.

      I would also recommend sending an email to the staff at The Road Back. You can Google it. They may be able to give you solid reccomendations.

      It is a fight, I know. Please let us know how you make out. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

      Glo

  32. Hi Gloria,
    That’s almost exactly what happened to me – I was forced by circumstances to go cold turkey.
    Drink plenty of water (ice cold water helped me), get plenty of sunshine, try to relax.
    You’ll get through this, just be strong. Remember that this is only temporary and what ever you do – do not go back on Cymbalta! Let your body flush it out at its own rate.

  33. I’ve recently just started to taper off my Cymbalta. I’ve been on 120mg for about 3 years now. After years of misdiagnosis, it turns out that I probably never should have been on any antidepressant, despite being on just about everyone on the market with none of them working successfully, which makes sense when it is determined that I shouldn’t have been on them. That being said, I was diagnosed with having Borderline Personality Disorder, which has so many symptoms that appear to be related to bipolar, anxiety and depression symptoms. But it took until I was 29 years old (I am now 31) to be properly diagnosed. I recently started in a DBT (Dialectal Behavior Therapy) program and in less than 3 months I was seeing more results in my mental health than 15 years of medication provided. I don’t necessarily blame my psychiatrist, as he spent a large part of his time with me (he’s been my shrink for 8 years now) undoing what the first one did to me during my first hospital admission, and I’ve had 3 in 10 years. We just recently established that the side effects I was having while I was on the Cymbalta were a lot not to be gaining anything from the drug itself. Now, I was experiencing the brain zaps while I was on the drug, and it is nice in some way to know that others experience this, as I find it a very difficult sensation to explain. I also tend to explain it a bit as though my body is trying to jump out of my skin when the zaps happen, and sometimes it will even cause my arms to flail uncontrollably. We are doing a slow decrease, but it’s been a couple of weeks now at 90mg, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I started to really experience the withdrawal symptoms. I have to say, I’ve been on benzo’s for over 10 years, and the withdrawal that comes from just missing one dose I thought was awful, but it’s not even as uncomfortable as the Cymbalta withdrawal. Aside from the described irritability, and well balling my eyes out for no apparent reason, and brain zaps, the headaches are very annoying, and I’ve suffered from migraines since I was a child and this is more irritating than that. But the dizziness and vertigo that I’m experiencing are really making things difficult for me. I’m also getting visual disturbances and my vision is very blurry. Actually I seem to be experiencing every side effect that people here have commented about. I’m just more concerned about how long these extreme side effects are going to last. It’s impacting my job performance, though I’ve at least been able to address that with my supervisor so she is aware that it’s a chemical issue in my brain right now, not that it’s a disinterest in my job. But I’m concerned about driving, as I don’t feel that I’d be safe in doing so. Just trying to get a feel for how long the worst of the side effects are going to last for. I know it’s different for everyone, but even if I could figure out an average, it’d give me something to work with. I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel as to not being on the Cymbalta anymore, and wish I’d never been on it in the first place, or any SSRI/SRNI for that matter, but I do recognize that when it comes to figuring a lot of this stuff out it is more of an art than a science. Any input would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  34. Stacey says:

    I ran out no thanks to the VA woo hoo

  35. Amanda Mauck says:

    I have been on Antidepressants for 12 straight years… the last 8 were on Cymbalta. I am currently 6 mos pregnant with my second baby. This round of pregnancy has been very emotional and different than the first time. For some reason… I was like… I’m effing sick of taking pills. Every time I asked my Dr for help getting off I was talked into staying on it because ” if you didn’t need it you wouldn’t have ever needed it. ” or ” you will always have to be on something” or ” if you feel fine on it, why disturb that ?”… in 2008 I tried to quit cold turkey. WOW…worst month of my life. The dizziness and brain zaps etc never ceased…so I caved and started popping them again. … I hadn’t attempted tapering or anything since then. Recently I started reading about the withdrawals and what to expect and so I started tapering. At first i painstakingly counted how many little white balls I took out of my capsules… -20….two weeks later -20…. finally I started estimating and just tapping the pills into the garbage and eye balling the amount. It worked just as well…I was careful. Anyway…I had mild withdrawals all along… now i am on day 4, no more pills. But OH MY GOD…I have been sooooo mean. I lash out at everything. I am dizzy too. But the anger is killing me. It’s just not like me. I mean. I fume. My husband and my friends are all worried about me. I keep saying…I’m coming off a 12 year trance and I’m compounded by preg hormones…give me a break. I truly hope I can feel “normal ” again. I don’t know who I really am it has been so long since I have been non-medicated. I guess I just hope I am not a a perma-bitch. that would suck. Cymbalta is terrible. No one told me when I started taking it that it was hard to quit…or that it should only be taken in very serious situations. I feel like I can’t trust my Dr.s. They are so eager to write that Rx and move you along.

    • Beth says:

      Please investigate what the impact may be of withdrawal on your baby. I have seen articles about it. Better to wait until after birth?

  36. Rose says:

    I was on this drug for 3 months and 3 weeks for anxiety. (30mg)
    I felt really good for just under 1 month – and then I started to get
    really bad headaches. I quit cold turkey – I am now on day 7 off. I
    feel really weak, I have a terrible head pounding dizzy feeling.
    This after such a short time on this drug. I am hoping this will all
    pass soon. I take 15 mg Mirtazapine at night, so at least I can sleep.
    Anyone know how long withdrawal will last after such a short time on
    this terrible med????

    • MsT says:

      Rose,

      I, too, only have been on this drug short time (2 months). It did what it was supposed to and honestly I do not regret taking it, but I also knew it was time to stop taking it. I have NTOS (neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome) and it is rare, but the type I have is common type of TOS. I had 5 years ago taken Lexapro because of being majorly depressed because they could not find out what was wrong with me – it was the TOS symptoms, but no one knew at the time what it was. It took 5 years before I got diagnosed correctly. I got off Lexapro after being on it for 7 months – I did it cold turkey and it took about a good 2 weeks. But…getting off Cymbalta has been a whole different experience! Holy cow! I also have stopped at the same time Norco (Vicodin). I’ve done that cold turkey before too so I knew what I was in for. Usually the pain meds withdrawal stops in about 5 days for me, but this time, I was having weird symptoms. At first I thought I had the flu on top of the withdrawing. I tried explaining to my husband what was going on in my head with this buzz, buzz, and zap, he laughed. He laughed until I started researching the withdrawal symptoms and showed him the articles I found. I’m experiencing everything everyone else is. But…HOW can that be when I only took it for 2 months and only 30 mg a day?

      I still do not regret taking it. It did help with the problems from the surgery for the TOS (rib removal, 2 scalene muscles removed, and pec minor lengthened) as well as the depression from not recovering as fast as I thought I would. I knew it was time to get off as I am moving forward with the TOS healing. I did not tell my doctor I was going to stop, but I think I need to connect with him so he can follow the symptoms. He’s terrific and I trust him. He’ll watch and let me know what to watch for.

      But, I too, am questioning the short term use and the strong side effects of withdrawal. Itay, have you heard or know about or have read about the short term use versus long term use withdrawal symptoms?

      Thank you to all who have offered suggestions on how to wean off, holistic ways to help ease symptoms, and just listening (through reading) to each other. This is the great positives of technology as I think most of the people on this site are all over the world! Thanks Itay for your insight to start this website – you should become a blogger!

      • Rose says:

        Its almost 3 weeks now that I stopped Cymbalta, and its been 1 week that I quit mirtazapine. I am feeling quite good,
        and I can tell the worst is over. I now take good quality omega 3′s, magnesium, vit B’s.
        The drugs did help heal whatever was going on in me – but I am glad to free of them. I have no more anxiety and my buzzing, dizzy head feeling is all but gone. Quitting Cymbalta (30mgs) for just over 3 months , cold turkey was really hard. I felt really sick for 2 weeks and then it started to lift. I then quit mirtazapine (15 mg for 7 months) cold turkey.
        It was no where as hard as Cymbalta. I did get a dizzy head but it soon passed.
        It may seem hard to believe, but when you quit there is light at the end of the tunnel. The drugs serve a purpose, but its to bad they have to be so powerful!

  37. Michelle says:

    I took 60 mg Cymbalta for a year to counteract a severe situational depression and it helped. In December, I felt my life had settled into place and it was time to get off the drug, not to mention the fact that I had grown from a size 6 to size 14 in one year and was still gaining weight! In December, I went cold turkey with no medical guidance, but decided the brain zaps and dizziness were too much (and dangerous) after a week and a half, so I decided to wean off more gently. From December to March, I slowly decreased from 30mg daily to every other day, then every three days, then weekly. I took my last pill four weeks ago and have since experienced weird fatigue, heat flashes, irrational anger spikes, and bipolar symptoms just like you described. My four kids are scared of me and my husband is steady, patient, but worried. I figured the withdrawal would have been done by now, but your article gave me a lot of hope. Thank you! I need to do a lot of work to get my family, body, and social life back on track. I’m looking forward to feeling normal, whatever that is. If I need to use a anti-depressant long-term any suggestions? I’m scared of more weight gain and the general malaise that comes with many favorites.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad I found your site. I thought I was going really crazy. My doctor prescribed Cymbalta for fibro pain and situational depression. Situation has changed and I didn’t feel any significant change in Fibro pain. I was on 30 mg for 3 months and 60 mg for the last 5 months. For two weeks I took 60mg every other day. I am now 6 days without any. OMG! This is rough. Fibre fog X`s 10. I am afraid to drive as I almost was involved in an accident (my fault). Headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, severe insomnia,sweating and. Bizarre dreams when I do finally sleep for an hour or two. My Dr handed out samples until the last few months no mire samples. My insurance WIILL NOT cover cymbalta” I am on a fixed income……I can’t back down now.. This makes me angry at my doctor and myself for so blindly following the doctor’s advice. I hope this goes away soon.

  39. Robin says:

    I currently take 90 mgs per day and for various reasons I’d like to stop talking Cymbalta. I had most of the listed symptoms years ago when I dc’d Effexor on my own. I thought that was an evil experience but this sounds like it might be worse. Anything I can do in advance to help in the process of withdrawing? ? I’m dreading it SO much but I do not want to take this med forever.

  40. Jase says:

    cold Turks cymbalta. I hate myself on this drug it can’t be any worse. So far ok. I take stilnox to sleep, so it is possible I sleep thought the worst withdrawals. I had major anxiety in the supermarket yesterday but this happens when I take cymbalta. This is not the one for me! I hope I make it through he next few weeks without slapping or pushing someone out of my way. I have severe tinnitus and hyperacussus due to an accident. Has anyone else been given cymbalta tinnitus and h dampening? J

  41. Jase says:

    The text above was cut. I am on day 4 cold turkey! I have brain zaps but little ones. I am very vague but also was last week when I was at 60 mg per day. Love you all, j

  42. Michaela Vos says:

    i went cold turkey from 60mg two weeks ago and most of my dizziness went away within a week or so but having real bad mood swings for the last week, snapping easily but im very aware after it happens, i have had a panic attack atleast once a day but nothing i cant push through, only thing im real worried about is having sharp pains in my stomach and weird chest feelings (dont know if they are related tho) i have to stop reading fake articles about this drug cause i keep freaking out and getting anxious lol.. anyone else in the same boat? any other symptoms im yet to encounter?

    • Jase says:

      Michaela vos, I hope I share in your similar past. I can’t wait for the dizziness to go away. Can I ask why you were on it in the first place? If too personal, just say so. I am also on Valium, so I think tins helping. Have been on val for four years to help with tinnitus. I am on day five cold T. I am so vague.
      If I projectile vomit, I’ll be face booking it. I haven’t vomited in years.

      Best of luck Michaela remember ‘love forever’ it goes on and on and on. You go girl

      • Michaela says:

        I went on them four years ago for anxiety, couldn’t leave the house, honestly wanted a quick fix and no one explained to me what could happen but eh, just trying to get through this part now because I want to travel at the end of the year and not have to worry about taking medication plus I’m in a good place at the moment
        Just worrying myself by reading all the bad stuff online about going cold turkey but there is so many people that do

  43. Jase says:

    Are there any people around with success cymbalta cold turkey stories? I am sick of how sick I will become. I have enough going on.
    Jase

    • Robin says:

      I asked my Dr. the other day what would happen if I just stopped taking Cymbalta cold turkey. She said under NO circumstances should you stop taking it cold turkey. The effects could be catastrophic. I feel like a slave to this drug as I am now completely afraid to stop taking it. I’ve been through all the ugliness before when I stopped taking Effexor so I know what to expect. Someone should create a pill to counteract the withdrawal symptoms. They make one for heroin addicts right?? I wonder if Suboxone would work with Cymbalta??

  44. Vicki says:

    Hi, I am about to let my doc know that it is time to wean me off cymbalta. The brain zaps are intense. The headaches are uncomfortable. I don’t need an antidepressant anymore. How do I communicate this to the doc?

    • Glo says:

      The doc can’t stop you from not coming off of cymbalta. However, I’m hoping your doctor is knowledgeable about this drug.

      If he recommends going every other day that would be your first opportunity to exit the office.

      Not sure what does you are on or if you are in Canada or the States. In Canada it only comes in 30mg doses. In the States it comes in 30mg and 20mg.

      I’ve reduced Cymbalta in two ways. My first drop was 30mg all at once. Withdrawal was unbearable. It lasted 21days straight. I was bed ridden the entire time from pain, vomiting and depression.

      My second drop was different. I took only ten beads a day out of the capsule and replaced thecap back on after counting out the brabeads. So 10 the first day, 20 the next and so on. Not an ideal thing to manipulate drugs but the withdrawal was a hell of a lot easier. It took 18 days but i was at least somewhat functional. The safer way of doing this is contacting a compounding pharmacy who are professionals in making smaller doses. I just don’t have the money so had to count it myself.

      Your doctor would give you a script for your medication. And then a separate script to the compounding company for smaller doses.

      You can also look up the road back and cymbalta. The website offers a free PDF on how to prepare to come of this drug. They also offer professional advice.

      Hope this helps.

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